Is all the fuss about 4G justified?

Living a connected lifestyle has become our latest obsession - our need to be able to connect and see what’s going on whilst on the move has resulted in an astounding mobile market boom, with increasing numbers of individuals and businesses using mobile devices, including tablets around the clock for work-related and personal activities.

This sudden surge in mobile usage is unlikely to slow down anytime soon, with recent statistics predicting that by 2015 mobile subscriptions will surpass the global population (approximately 7.5 billion) and reach an astonishing estimated nine billion subscriptions. Within the same period, the number of apps dowloaded will also reach 47 billion per year, coupled with an additional one million minutes of video predicted to be streamed across the internet every second.

On one hand, these statistics signify a new era in our generations’ mode of communication but on the other hand also put increasing pressure on the mobile infrastructure currently in place. The ageing 3G network was never deployed with these numbers in mind alreadycausing a significant strain and subsequently resulting in a reduction in the quality of service and unhappy end-users.

The deployment of 4G couldn’t have come at a better time with mobile operators clambering to provide customers with 4G services to help resolve the worrying situation. Although Wi-Fi coverage has helped alleviate the pressure to an extent, everyone is now looking to 4G to be the great saviour.

This technology’s popularity is spreading globally with recent figures showing that there are already 8.8 million 4G users across the globe (TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, 2012), a number which will most definitely increase within the next couple of years. This adoption is driven largely by enterprise subscribers and the increased availability of 4G-compatible device. So why is 4G so popular?

4G opens up the network to allow high speed performance, with the ability to exceed download rates of 100Mbps and upload speed of 50Mbps, increasing bandwidth available to mobile devices across the UK.. Once this technology is deployed across the UKmobile users, will be able to run much richer, data intensive applications on their mobile devices with a better quality of experience.

Businesses in particular stand to gain from this improved service. Companies, such as design agencies and architectural firms who historically deal with large files, will be able to maintain high levels of output, even when employees are on the go; allowing them to view and even send or work on bandwidth-hungry files while on their mobile devices. With 64 per cent of firms in Europe and North America providing more mobility support to their employees, the ability to work effectively on a mobile device is extremely important. There are even suggestions that 4G can drive innovation and help businesses cut costs.

Even though it is still uncertain as to whether 4G will permanently relieve the strain on the network, one thing is guaranteed - it will bring about a positive change across the business environment, increasing productivity and an organisations’ accessibility to data wherever employees may be.

Peter is responsible for all of MLL Telecom's technical pre-sales engagements as well as delivering the very best network architectures and designs for the company's customers. Peter is also responsible for Product Marketing within MLL Telecom.